Mehdi Marrakchi and Karim Elamrani are the founders of a leading hookah brand, MOB Hookah. Their flagship store, where they hold celebrity appearances, is located on Melrose Ave in Los Angeles, one of the most popular and trendy areas in LA . The shop was designed to fit the brand’s needs, featuring customized pieces from the talented artist Dalsinky and other artist collaborations.
MOB Hookah’s site features over a hundred different products and accessories. MOB Hookahs are beautifully crafted to be the centerpiece of any room. They are all unique in style and design, with raving reviews about the quality and craftsmanship. There’s a design for every personality type, such as Diamond: an elegant German-designed hookah; Onyx Venus: made out of beautiful bone material for an extra sleek look; and the futuristic Halo Tray: designed to teleport you to another dimension. These products can be shipped all over the world and across North America.
Humble Beginnings and Growth
Mehdi and Karim Elamrani explain that the brand started back in his garage in 2014 with a unique hookah design and an investment of $15,000. “ We started promoting the brand organically on Instagram, and it just took off from there,” Mehdi and Karim share. “We are now projected to sell over $10 million this year, and we are just getting started!” MOB Hookah has become one of the most popular hookah brands globally, with 122k Instagram followers, 13k Facebook followers, and 40k subscribers on YouTube.
Karim Elamrani’s Dreams
Karim immigrated to the United States at 19, right after graduating high school in Morocco. “I came directly to San Diego with $500 in my pocket that I had worked for all summer before coming here, Karim explains. “My first job was at a smoke shop in downtown San Diego.” A year and a half later, he started a new job working for a limousine company, and that’s how he met his friend and business partner, Mehdi Marrakchi. He thinks that’s when Mob Hookah was born. “We didn’t know it yet, but we would become a deadly business duo,” Karim says, laughing. “After about a year of working for the limo company, I started my own limo company and did that for about six years until Rideshare took over the market.”
The AK-47 Shaped Hookah
With the bit of money Karim had left from that business, he opened a smoke shop in Downtown San Diego. “During this time, I was just trying to keep my head above water,” Karim says. “But being back in the Hookah industry made me happy, and I felt more passionate about expanding my business,” Karim says he has always been fascinated by craftsmanship that goes into creating guns and the aesthetic. “ I don’t like the violence associated with guns,” Karim clarifies. “When I created the AK-47 shaped hookah, I just thought it would be cool,” Karim says. He didn’t even own a gun when he started working on the design. “I thought this would be a great idea, but no one else did,” Karim says. “No one took me seriously, and I needed start-up money.”
Karim believed in his idea so much that he approached Mehdi Marrakchi, whose mind was immediately blown by the concept, and he decided to partner with him, using all the money he had at the time, which was $15,000. After that, the business partners contacted a couple of factories overseas, found one that was the right fit, and took a flight to vet their idea.
They worked with a 3-D model, and then the design was ready to mold. They tested out the product and came up with all the color combinations, and then started manufacturing. The first production batch was only about 250 pieces. “The first time we introduced our AK-47 hookah to the public via Instagram, people went crazy, and we sold out of the 250 pieces of retail on our website in a couple of days,” Karim says. “We even had buyers from different parts of the world like France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, and Australia, and we were just operating out of Mehdi‘s garage.”
Karim continues, “After generating about $45,000, we re-invested all of it again to manufacture another batch of 1000 pieces that we mostly sold online and to some hookah stores and smoke shops.” Wholesalers then started to approach the business partners. Mob Hookah continued to create more hookah designs and has slowly supplied North America and other parts of the world. Karim believes that the future of the hookah industry is bright. Karim states that the hookah business has been around since the 15th century and that he thinks it will still be around as long as humanity exists.”